We were in Paris for just over two days. You can’t do Paris in two days.
We spent about three hours at the Louvre. You can’t do the Louvre in three hours. In fact, you can’t really do the Louvre in two days. Perhaps you could do it in two weeks. It is immense. The entrance pyramid pokes up out of the ground like the tip of an iceberg, hiding a huge complex below. Down you go, only to surface in various wings. All of the buildings in this photo are part of the Louvre.
Our children wanted to see the Mona Lisa. We headed off, through the vast halls and passages. We were watched by the sacrifice, suffering, martyrdom and murder of hundreds of years we sped through, barely giving anything a second glance. I felt a deep-pitted guilt in my stomach, as I always do when visiting an art gallery. There is simply not enough time to give every painting the time it deserves. The gallery halls were absolutely vast and some seemed to be never-ending. One, I estimated, was a quarter of a mile in length.
Eventually, we got to our destination. There she was: the Mona Lisa. I thought we would have to queue to see her, but there are no queues. The kids pushed to the front of the throng of people and stared at the painting from behind a rope, set back by a couple of meters. Space enough to see her, but not enough to get to really know her.
As well as introducing ourselves to the Mona Lisa, we said hello to the Venus de Milo and Lady Macbeth. Saints saved their last looks for us as they died; children cried out in horror as their fathers were slaughtered by soldiers. Frontiersmen defended themselves from wild wolves, and the cold blue ice of Scandinavian landscapes was braved by explorers. We could have spent days in this one place (we nearly did, getting lost looking for the Egyptian exhibits), but a two day city break allows for little more than a taster.
The Louvre sits on the north bank of the Seine. We caught the Batobus back to our hotel.